When some friends moved into a new home, they listed their phone number under their dog’s name. When anyone called asking for the dog, they’d say, “He can’t come to the phone right now. He’s taking a nap.” Or, “He’s lying down under the table.” Or, “He’s out for a walk.” Whatever the dog happened to be doing at the moment.

My grandfather (pre computer) would always say to cold callers of any stripe, “Hang on a minute, I have to turn down the radio.” Then he’d leave the receiver on the table and walk away until the phone started the loud beeping indicating the phone was off the hook. After waiting a long time they’d eventually realize he wasn’t coming back.

Another friend used to say, “Does Prince, as in the-rock-star-formerly-and-now-again-called-, get this product? I only get things that Prince gets.” Many telemarketers would immediately say yes. My favorite: Prince reading Backpacker magazine.

None of these things work now that most cold calls are pre-recorded.

Except when they’re not.

Like the guy who’s always calling to help me with an important update to Windows to prevent damage to my computer…